EDITORIAL: Press, Not Welcome
We are not really sure why Gov. Henry McMaster would go along with a no-press-allowed campaign appearance by President Trump last week in Greenville. Gov. McMaster is going to need all the press help he can get to fend off challenges by James Smith and Catherine Templeton - and perhaps others - to get elected as South Carolina’s governor.
Not re-elected - remember, McMaster was lite governor when Nikki Haley was named Ambassador to the United Nations, the highest ranking female in President Trump’s cabinet.
We suppose the fact that no trained, professional journalists were allowed to cover the event inside the venue is attributable to the president’s long-standing distain for “fake news.” So in the place of trained, professional journalists, We The News Consuming Public must rely on “leaked” information from inside the venue.
One news source (which based on its past support of everything Trumpian definitely should have gotten “an exclusive,” but didn’t) says the event raised $1.5 million for McMaster’s election effort, but some donors said it was “dysfunctional” and the president used a mocking tone of voice referring to the Prime Minister of India (disputed by others). The president continued his bizarre campaign against the National Football League - stemming from his ill-fated ownership of a United States Football League team - and praised Samsung, while speaking in BMW’s backyard - that’s reportedly; again, no trained, professional journalists were allowed inside the venue.
As trained, professional journalists ourselves, we had some other local news to cover while the president was in Greenville. But it’s a little discouraging to us that no Greenville-Spartanburg journalist sneaked into the Trump-McMaster event. We might have to start a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money to buy a ticket for one trained, professional journalist to buy his/her way into the next Trump-McMaster event. Just the act of raising a camera or a recorder would not have been suspicious, apparently - the president’s video-recorded talk is on Facebook.
Sombrero Jim Yates, of Laurens, reported that he had lots of the people wanting to take pictures of him, so cameras and/or camera-phones were not the problem. Apparently all the Trumpians think it’s a hoot to be seen with a white guy wearing a big Mexican hat.
Truth is, these “things” that the Trump people are putting on are not presidential. But, they are political, and the trained, professional news media of the United States has an obligation to attend, in person, everything that is political. It is our fundamental right, guaranteed to us by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
No president is going to like everything written or said about him/her. They never have, we expect it - some of us revel in it. Also, many of us have our hands full - thank you very much - covering real news. As our new president of the SC Press Association says:
“We report real news every day. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure readers back home define real news as who won the Friday night football game or what the local festival organizers are planning for the weekend. Or who needs help because they lost everything in a fire. Or who really has died. That’s the real news community newspapers provide.”
But, if our GOVERNOR is going to adopt a “no press allowed” stand, we do have a problem with that. We would need to consider a press “black-out” of statements. Every time somebody wants to avoid hard questions, they issue a statement. We are under no obligation to print these - and if TV-radio would back us up, these statements would wind up in the circular file. Then, we could get on to covering real news (see statement above). Politicians come to town, making TV “sound bites” - we are under no obligation to cover that, it’s not “real life” to our readers.
Now, if they welcome us in, and stop and talk, and be real people again, then just maybe, we’ll change our mind.